Perspicuity

Some people get intimidated when they hear other people discussing doctrine or theology.  You do not have to have a Bible degree in order to understand Biblical Doctrine.

Perspicuity is a word that is not found in the Bible, just like the word Trinity, but the concept is throughout the Bible.  Acts 17:11 supports the concept of perspicuity.  Speaking of the Bereans Luke says:

Acts 17:11 (ESV) Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Perspicuity of Scripture is the belief that everything pertaining to salvation and godliness is understandable to the common man when the Lord opens his eyes.  While the word perspicuity may be new to you, most of us do actually believe in Perspicuity of Scripture.  Unlike Roman Catholics most Protestants believe that we can read and study the Bible ourselves without the need of a priest or preacher to interpret it to us.

Charles Hodge wrote that:

“Protestants hold that the Bible, being addressed to the people, is sufficiently perspicuous to be understood by them, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and that they are entitled and bound to search the Scripture, and to judge for themselves what is its true meaning.”

Because of Perspicuity of Scripture:

Scripture imparts understanding to the simple.

Psalms 119:130 (ESV) The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

Scripture serves as a light to uncover the darkness.

Psalms 119:105 (ESV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Scripture explains Salvation.

2 Timothy 3:15 (ESV) and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Parents can teach Scripture to their children.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (ESV)

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Children can understand Scripture.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV)

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Because of Perspicuity of Scripture we at NCBC want our children to worship with us and to glean from every teaching of God’s Word.  Children grasp much more than we give them credit for.

Scripture is the test for all beliefs.

Acts 17:11 (ESV) Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

However perspicuity does not mean that every portion of Scripture is equally understandable.  Even Peter had trouble understanding Paul.

2 Peter 3:15-16 (ESV)

15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Perspicuity does not mean we do not need teachers (1 Tim 3:2) but it does mean we can and should test everything we hear. (Acts 17:11, 1 Thess 5:21)

Even 1 Corinthians 2:14 does not mean Scripture is too hard for laymen.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

This verse doesn’t mean that Scripture is too hard or unclear but it means it will only truly be understood when the Holy Spirit reveals the spiritual nature of the Scriptures.  That doesn’t happen instantly, often you will read and read a passage and then much later find the Holy Spirit has really revealed the truth even when you thought you understood before.

Perspicuity also means that we as individuals are personally responsible for maturing our faith through Scripture and the Holy Spirit.  We cannot blame the church, our parents, or others for our failure to examine the Scriptures daily to see what is true. (Acts 17:11)


For the full series of posts in order click below:

Renewing the Attitudes of our Heart Series


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